College Hoops 2K7 Review


It’s time to play my first 2k title in quite a while. People really tend to like this series quite a bit even though I’ve never been a particularly big fan of it. 2k definitely feels more realistic with its controls but as a result it is a lot slower and less intuitive. You won’t be able to just run up to the basket and score here. Instead you will be having to think or plays and strategies if you want to win.

Despite being a different series 2k has most of the usual modes that you would expect to see. One of these is a simple quick match of course and then you’ve got the season mode. You can practice your skills as well and as you play you will unlock achievements. This was a welcome addition to the game even if the achievements don’t necessarily translate into trophies. This may have been before that era as I don’t think I got any trophies despite beating quite a few achievements. Hey, it’s not easy landing 3 3 point shots in a row!

The graphics definitely look pretty good here as well. I’d say that 2K is going for a bit of a grittier look than the NBA titles and since it’s a college title it makes sense that it would be a little less refined than the NBA stadiums. The game definitely still holds up though. There’s not much of a soundtrack as per usual but that’s not a really big deal.

As I mentioned earlier the gameplay is a lot more difficult here. Don’t expect to jump to the highest difficulty level and take names as you might in the other version. Here even the default difficulty will show you no mercy as it goes in for the win. I found that the best thing to do if you can stop the opponent at times is to simply go for 3 point shots. You’ll make more than you miss and the fact that you get more points than the basic shot will balance things out. Of course the key part here is being able to stop the computer consistently. If you can’t do that then this will only lead to your inevitable demise. If you can’t stop them and have to resort to a shoot out then you need to win the battles inside the paint. Go with quick passes to dunks or close shots. Those have a good success rate and at that point you just have to watch out for steals. I don’t really know how to prevent them but the quicker you release the ball the more likely it is that you’ll be okay.

I’m not all that familiar with how college basketball rules differ from the NBA but it does seem like there are only two quarters (called halfs) rather than 4. Maybe that’s just a game thing but I feel like it’s unlikely the video game would change up the rules like that. It’s a lot more likely that at the college level they just switched it up. This may also determine how much you enjoy the game since a lot of NBA fans don’t necessarily care about the college level and vice versa. You may not be quite as invested in a game that has the same gameplay as one of your favorites but without the character. As long as you’re just a big fan of the sport in general you should be fine though.

Overall, This is a pretty solid Basketball game. As always you can play this for a long time without getting bored as there is a good amount of replay value and every match is a little different. At the same time if you are a casual basketball player then this game will likely get frustrating at times because of how relentless the computer is. They definitely won’t be cutting you a break here that’s for sure. You can buy the game for a buck or two so check it out and let me know if it does best the NBA titles for you.

Overall 7/10

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Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Review


It’s time to look at a Mario game that came out quite a while ago. This was back during the first days of the Switch. I nearly got the game back then, but ultimately Fire Emblem Warriors won out and so this one took the backseat for a long time. After finally playing it I can definitely confirm that this game is a lot of fun. The plot may not be all that solid, but as every other aspect of the game is on point it's definitely easy to get into this one. There aren't a whole lot of strategy games quite like this one.

The main plot is that the Rabbids have infected Mario's world. They are contaminating everything and in particular this can be traced back to one Rabbid who has on a pair of glasses that allows him to manipulate reality. It'll be tough for Mario and pals to deal with this, but they are ready nonetheless. Bowser Jr. wants this rabbid for his own purposes as well though so the heroes will have to contend with him. Fortunately Mario and the gang have arm cannons now so they can blast away at any who would dare oppose them. It's definitely handy to have a long range weapon like this.

So in this game you control 3 characters at a time. You're put on an overhead map much like Fire Emblem and the goal is to strike at the enemies. Well, most levels are about defeating all of the enemies but some are simply about getting to the goal at the end. It's a turn based system and when it's your turn you are able to make a movement, launch an attack, and use a special ability. Once you've finished moving all 3 of your fighters then the opponent gets to have their turn. The villains can sometimes have up to 8 people on a team so they get a lot of turns in a row. Ideally you want to always be hiding behind a rock or something as otherwise they'll finish you off very quickly.

You always want to be thinking one or more turns ahead of the match. You also have to take into account that there are some variable features to look out for like critical hits or moves that have a special element to them. Usually it will work in your favor, but that won't always be the case. I hadn't played an Xcom game quite as advanced as this one before. The one I had played previously was on the GBA and it's definitely not as intricate. I can definitely confirm that I like this system. It's pretty fun and definitely challenging. You won't be fast blasting through this game so easily.

That said, as long as you patiently look at the enemy patterns then you'll be okay. I certainly did die a few times along the way, but after a loss you will always have a better idea of what to expect the second time around. Usually my plan was to keep my 3 members pretty close to each other so we'd overwhelm the opponents when they got close. My go to team was Mario, Peach, and Rabbid Peach. With two healers on your team you're ready to go for the win. Not to mention that the healers can also survive on their own for a while. There are multiple battles where 2 of my teammates died and I was fighting 2v1 or 3v1.

One of the most hype moments came during the final boss battle as rabbid Peach was the only one left against 4 of the big bruisers and the final boss. It was intense and it took me 22 turns because I had to rely on running and gunning it, but it all worked out. It was definitely a pretty intense boss battle. I did manage to beat it in one try, but it's no walk in the park. Going slow was really all I could do in order to ensure that I got the victory.

I also tried other characters along the way like Luigi and Yoshi. Luigi's pretty handy, but he feels like a glass cannon. Often times he would be the first one to be defeated. Then you've got Yoshi who is pretty good and a nice power hitter, but I just really needed two healers on my team. Only having one made things tricky. That's also because Peach tends to hit people with collateral damage a lot. I really love her high attack power, but with her eagle eye skill she would end up hitting me pretty much as often as she would hit the villains. The damage adds up very quickly and she is partially why Mario died after 1-2 turns in the final boss level. Gotta keep an eye on her cannon.

The graphics are definitely pretty sharp here. The colors are vibrant and the cutscenes that we get look really good. I can't say that I'm surprised since Ubisoft always runs a pretty tight ship. The same can be said for Mario games in general so there was no way this one wasn't going to look good. The soundtrack isn't quite as good as most Mario games, but maybe that's the Rabbid influence. It works well enough I suppose.

There's definitely a lot of replay value here as beating the story is just the beginning. There are many challenges to conquer and new areas to explore. There are also a lot of collectibles scattered across the levels so getting those will take a while. The main story is also pretty long. It's hard to say how long it took me to complete this one but it was at least 10 hours and likely quite a bit more. My Switch won't show the play time yet since it's still too new, but it'll show soon and then I'll upload that stat to the rankings. The game has also had quite a bit of DLC so you've got a good amount of content to work through once you play this title.

While the plot is still "Mario" I do appreciate the fact that there is a lot more dialogue than usual here. It gives the characters more personality and I'd like to see more of this in an actual Mario platformer title. The extra story details and such would definitely help and without the Rabbids to distract you it could really go far. Fans of Bowser may be a little sad at his portrayal here, but while he doesn't look tough it was nice to see him as the considerate father figure to Bowser Jr. In general Bowser always seems like a nice guy aside from the whole kidnapping Peach thing. Not really something you can overlook though.

Overall, Mario + Rabbids is definitely a successful experiment. Of course, that's mainly attributed to the gameplay. I'd definitely like to see more Mario games adopt this style. I can see how it would be a little tough for kids, but they do have an assist built into all of the levels where you can start the match with extra health for all of the characters. I think that should help the kids get through it a little easier. I definitely recommend not using that feature though because it will take away from your ability to adapt to the level. If you've got a crutch like extra health then you simply won't see the point in honing your skills. If you haven't played this game yet then you should change that. It'll give you a run for your money.

Overall 8/10

Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of The Force Review


It’s time to look at another retro Star Wars game. This one is also for the Game Boy Advance, but do not be alarmed. It is significantly better than the last one and feels like a true Star Wars title. This brings us back to the level of quality that you would expect from such an esteemed franchise. This one can proudly call itself a Star Wars game and nobody would bat an eye. It’s got good gameplay and while the game is admittedly pretty short, it’s at least no a chore to get through. No password save system this time.

The plot follows the original 3 movies. You play as Luke Skywalker in all of the levels as you recount the events. While most of the levels take place on the ground you do get a pair of space levels. These may have been thrown together a little quicker than the ground ones, but they’re pretty reasonable. The constant checkpoints make up for the gameplay not being too refined here. As a result it flows together pretty well and makes for a wholesome experience. The real meat of the game is the ground combat though and I liked it. It’ll remind you of the old school beat em ups like Streets of Rage or the Ninja Turtle games.

For the first half of the levels you fight enemies with your blaster. As the game progresses you eventually switch to a Lightsaber and slash away at everyone. Both styles of combat have their positives of course, but the lightsaber does pack more of a wallop, but you have to get up close which makes it a little more risky. The levels typically end as you make it to the end like a traditional platformer but sometimes you have to find a card key to make it past a door. The levels are fairly short but you will be stopped at times to take down all of the enemies. In that sense this one is definitely part beat em up.

It’s not particularly tough and when you die there is always a checkpoint so you will at most lose like 2 minutes of gameplay. The quickest way to deal with the enemies in my experience is to jump at them and use aerial attacks. They seem to do more damage than the ones on the ground and you can take out quite a few enemies this way. You also have a lot of options on how to take them down so really there is no reason why you would be stuck here. The only one I can think of is if you encounter a glitch. I encountered one glitch where I made it to an area that I wasn’t supposed to. As a result there were enemies under me but I couldn’t get to them to get out of the area. I eventually had to let them just shoot me so I could re-spawn and let them finish the job. At the end of the day that’s a pretty minor glitch though, could have been a lot worse.

There are actual boss fights here which was definitely nice. The battle against Darth Vader is definitely the highlight. He does a lot of blocking so don’t expect to just walk all over the guy. He’s a Sith Lord for a reason after all. As with the minions I found that the best thing to do here was to throw in aerial attacks. Mix them in with ground moves and eventually you will hit him. I’d also say to throw in some force push moves. They never hurt him, but while he is blocking those he is wide open to a strike. Just throw in all the mix-ups and you’ll be out of that boss fight in no time.

The graphics have definitely aged pretty well if you ask me. It’s the classic sprite look so the character models are on point and all of the effects look nice. It’s always surreal to see these games since it looks like something you could probably make into a sprite video. Once you’ve done that then you’re really set. The soundtrack is pretty forgettable, but we do get another retro remix of the movie intros which was nice to see. By the time this marathon is over I definitely won’t be forgetting the jingle for the opening credits.

There isn’t much, if any replay value here though. After you’ve beaten the levels there really isn’t anything to collect. The main story will only take you around 3 hours so you’ll be out of content in no time. You can get the game for cheap though so I wouldn’t say this is much of an issue. Better to have 3 hours of quality than 10 of a dragged out story right? It’s just the kind of game where you know beforehand that it’s going to be a one time experience.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this game. It’s got that nice Star Wars feel to it and the gameplay is solid. I always did like these retro beat em up games. The only time they can be annoying is when there are no save points and you have to start the whole thing from scratch, but otherwise it works pretty well I’d say. There is now only one more game left on my Star Wars marathon, but that game will have to wait as I work on Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. I don’t have much experience in the XCom Gameplay, but I definitely like it on principal. It reminds me of the Fire Emblem style and I always like adding a little strategy into the gameplay. It just spices things up quite a bit. You can expect that review to be coming up soon.

Overall 7/10

NBA Live 08 Review


It’s time to head to the next NBA game. I’m still not sure what the difference between NBA 08 and NBA Live 08 is, but I suppose I’ll be finding out soon since we also own the normal NBA 08. This game may be the best of the 3 NBA titles that I’ve played recently though. It completely gets rid of the new gimmick where you see a meter when you shoot. It feels more like the good ole days and that’s definitely a good thing. I also feel like I’m finally hitting my stride here like the good ole days although I suppose it is also possible that this game is just easier than the other two.

Naturally I went right into the quick play mode to jump into some games right off the bat. I always have a game against the easy computers and then I jump right to the top. Well, this time I managed to beat the computer on both settings and that felt pretty good. The computer wasn’t making any obvious mistakes like the last game, it’s more like they just couldn’t stop me here. Whenever they would be closing in I would just make the pass and keep it moving. It was a lot of fundamentals and maybe also a degree of remembering how the computer acts as I have gotten to play against the computers quite a bit lately.

One strategy that almost always works is to run to on the bottom side of the screen and pass up when you’re close. The computer will stand there with a confused expression while you score. This works on all difficulties and often times you can also beat the computer one on one. Just go for the shot and you’ll make it. While there is no meter, I would usually hold down the shot button for a second or two. It just seemed to increase the accuracy but it could easily be a placebo effect going on there.

Interestingly, the computer does start to panic near the end though. I was winning by a good amount as the game was ending and the A.I. seemed to take that as a cue to start hitting me with fouls. The final minute or two I couldn’t even move as they would immediately foul me so I would go to the free throw line. The logic seemed to be that whether I made the shots or not they would get the ball again. If so, this was a pretty desperate strategy indeed. Plus, the free throws are fairly easy, I made 7/9 which wasn’t half bad. In general I thought the controls were really on point here. You won’t do anything that you didn’t plan on doing and that’s important. There are no glitches to be found either.

There are the usual extra modes available here, but for once I decided to quickly try one of them out. I tried the Dunk Contest and while I like the concept, I think it could have explained the controls a little better. The goal is to land a good dunk with style points to be the best, but the controls are a little different than the average game. You can’t just run up and dunk after all. You have to wow the crowd with a lot of fancy ball tricks and movement before you can dunk. My character would just drop the ball and so I lost the game without scoring a single point. That’s not enough to make me say that it’s a bad mode, but it did remind me why I usually stick to the main one.

As always the graphics are on point here. Everything looks nice and detailed. The colors are sharp and the character designs seem pretty well made. The way the menu loads is the new style where it takes you right into the basketball court so you can shoot some hoops while it loads. I always felt like this probably slows down the loading time, but it is a fun way to pass the time. You can practice all of your skills here and practicing is definitely important. It helps the replay value even further although that’s never a weakness for a sport game.

Overall, NBA Live 08 is pretty great as expected. It’s more or less the same as the other two NBA games so at the end of the day it boils down to how much you like Basketball. If you like it a lot then you’ll be fine. If you only like it a bit then you’d probably get bored so just keep that in mind. The whole game is built around the sport because you’re supposed to just have a lot of fun going through the games. For what it’s worth, I definitely think the game succeeds in that area. It’s got a really nice presentation overall so they didn’t cut any corners here. It also goes for a good price nowadays so don’t worry about spending a bunch on this one.

Overall 8/10

NBA Live 09 Review


It’s time for another NBA game! This one’s actually a bit of a jump since the last one I played was 07 and this one is 09. The reason for that is I own two versions of 08 and I’m trying to find out if it is actually the same game or if they differ at all. If they are the same then I’ll only play one of them. On the whole I actually preferred 09 to 07 although the A.I. definitely is a little odd here.

It’s the classic Basketball rules so I can skim over that. The main gameplay difference here is the removal of the big wheel before each shot from 07. Instead you do have a bit of a meter on the ground, but it’s really hard to see it. It seems to be more of an acknowledgement that you made the shot or didn’t. So, in this way it feels a lot more like the older Basketball games which works for me. It just feels a lot more natural to just go for the shot instead of looking at a meter to see if it’s the right timing for it. I made less shots of course, but I think it was worth it.

In my first game the computer was surprisingly beating me. At first the score was very close as I was keeping pace but the gap gradually got larger as I couldn’t stop them at all and eventually they would start to stop me from scoring. I was mainly shocked because I thought that I had set the difficulty to the lowest setting for the first game. For the sport titles I like starting off easy and then increasing the difficulty. However, it turns out that I chose the second difficulty level instead of the first. So, I guess I felt a little better about keeping it even.

However, here’s where it got a little weird. For the second game I jumped to the highest difficulty level to see how badly they would be swatting me around. Instead I actually was up by around 30 points when the game wrapped up. How is this possible? Well, there were probably a few factors here. On one hand, I had more experience on both sides of the ball now. On defense I wasn’t going to be stealing any balls so I just stuck to the defender. On this difficulty the computer goes for quite a lot of shots, but surprisingly their accuracy didn’t get any better so they miss a lot and then I’d get the ball. Then on offense I wouldn’t go for anything fancy. I’d just try for shots when I was close and most of them would land.

The main difference here is that on lower difficulties the computer would just go for the easy shots while on this mode they seemed to take the shot as soon as they were within range of the 3 pointer. They made some of them, but missed the rest. I assume this has to not be intentional since there’s no way you should lose to the equivalent of standard mode and then take down very hard. Maybe if I was better at the game I would have done worse in the final difficulty, similar to how it is in Super Smash Bros. It’s better in that game to spam smash attacks against level 9 computers then going for combos. Whatever the case, I will admit that it was pretty cool to take down the A.I. for the count.

The graphics are definitely pretty sharp as always. The presentation is a little more elaborate here than in the other one. At the same time, it’s all pretty skippable so I think the game did a good job with that. It feels professional but very optional which I think is always the perfect balance for sport games like this to have the presentation but not to make it mandatory. If it’s too long then it’ll take away from the fun.

As always it goes without saying that there is a whole lot of replay value to be found here. The Basketball games are all unique so you can do a bunch of matches and not get bored. Furthermore, there are minigames to consider and you can start a franchise. It’s always pretty much the same modes but they’re all the core content you would expect. There’s only so much you can do in a Basketball game…or only so much you would want to do. That being said, I wouldn’t mind some spinoff modes like having the basketball players play with a Football or a Baseball as they try to land it in the hoop. Little mini modes like that would be fun for the novelty.

Overall, NBA 09 is definitely a powerful entry in the series. Longtime fans of the NBA games may not see a whole lot of new content which is a fair point against the game. However, it’s not good to change these titles just for the sake of changing them so to that end I’m glad that it’s still the same ole game that I remember. It’s consistent gameplay and win or lose it is a blast to play. I look forward to playing the next few NBA titles and seeing how they stack up as well.

Overall 8/10

Star Wars Flight of The Falcon Review


It’s rare that I play a game that falls under a 5. For the most part there are usually fun things to enjoy in a game so I won’t be giving it a downright negative score. That being said, Flight of The Falcon is definitely one of those. It’s limited by a lot of things including poor level designs and the lack of a continue feature. Mix em all together and you’ve easily got the worst Star Wars games and it ranks as one of the worst titles that I’ve played. I don’t know what this game was thinking.

The game very vaguely follows the plot of the original trilogy. The levels have you flying around in the Falcon as you blast away at enemies or try to make it to the end goal in the time allotted. There are 14 levels but good luck seeing all of them. They are divided into 3 chapters. Once you’ve lost all your lives and continues you’re taken to a game over screen and start back from level 1. You can put in a password so that you can continue but it only takes you to the beginning of a chapter. So for example, if you lose on level 6 then your only options are to start over at level 1 or skip to level 7 which starts chapter 2. There is no way to return to where you started.

Even for password save games this is a bit much. I can’t think of any other game which is so restrictive with the continue feature. If you ask me there wasn’t a whole lot of quality control done on this game. It seems like they really slapped it together. Aside from this, the level designs aren’t any fun either. They all drag on for too long and there are glitches everywhere. The only real way to beat level 2 is to fly straight through the buildings. If you zoom straight ahead and start to turn then it’s like the building won’t exist anymore. You can just go through it and save some seconds. On the other hand, sometimes the building will appear and you’ll end up dying. One hit to the terrain is instant death of course.

You can expect to die a lot of times here. This game is super difficult, but not in a legit way. Throw in some good levels and it would be a pretty reasonable game. The objectives aren’t even clearly defined as you can easily get stuck in a level because you aren’t sure what to do. Some levels have you taking down enemies while others have you rushing towards the goal. Apparently you can determine this by looking at a small indicator near the bottom of the screen. Good luck looking for that one!

The graphics aren’t anything to write home about either. The sprites are very blurry and the camera literally can’t keep up when there are too many objects on the field. As a result you’ll die to invisible things in some of the later levels. A meteorite didn’t properly load so you bump into it and then it appears. Whenever you die like that it definitely does not feel legit. The soundtrack is also pretty bland. There’s nothing to it and I’m sure you’ll forget it within minutes of completing the level. It’s a shame, but the game had no soul to it.

Naturally that also means there isn’t a whole lot of replay value. If you can ace the levels you can beat this game in under 2 hours. Otherwise, you can also be here forever if you don’t conquer all of the levels. I beat the first 5 and then beat levels 7-8, but I’m not about to start from scratch every time I get a game over. I called it a day here, but call me back when the game gets an HD remake with a save feature that works. The password system just hasn’t aged well and this game takes it as low as possible.

I tried to think about any positive aspects of the game, but I’m running on empty here. I suppose the loading screens are pretty quick. You don’t have to worry about getting bored there because the levels do come up fast. Maybe that’s because the game doesn’t have to bother loading much since the game isn’t saving anything anyway, if so that’s a silver lining I suppose. Most of the cutscenes start out with 10-20 seconds of nothing happening though so I think the budget for the animations was probably pretty slim. There’s nothing exciting about seeing a ship move in slow motion for ages until the cutscene ends.

Overall, Flight of the Falcon is a game I’d recommend avoiding. Unfortunately it snaps Star Wars’ streak of solid games all around. I suppose when you get enough games you’re bound to run into a bad one at some point. The concept isn’t bad and at least it’s a unique style, but the execution was just really weak. I can’t say that I’ll be missing this game and hopefully the next GBA title in the series is a lot better. I can’t see how it would be worse to be honest so it should be uphill from here on out.

Overall 3/10

NBA 07 Review


All right! It’s finally time to get into some of the Basketball titles! Next to Football this sport has always fought it out with Tennis for being the next most enjoyable one. There’s just a lot of fun to be had in Basketball and the games are always nice and fast paced. I feel like my fundamentals from 2003 hold up fairly well although there have definitely been some changes to the gameplay since then. I can’t say that they are for the better, but they are the kinds of changes that make the game deeper so I’m sure I would like them if I played more often.

If you know the game of Basketball then you basically already know how the gameplay is gonna work. The goal here is to score more points than your opponent. You score points by firing the ball into the basket and naturally you want to prevent the opponent from doing this as well. To that end the controls are a little more straight forward than the other games. Also, it’s only 5 on 5 I believe so the court never feels all that packed. You can just go in and get the stuff done. That being said, don’t expect to just run up to the opponent and start firing off shots though. You could do that back in the day, but times have changed.

One new addition to the series (At least it wasn’t around in 2003) is a new accuracy meter. When you shoot you need to time the button release just right so you shoot when it’s in the green. That will result in an automatic basket. If it’s yellow then you’ll make the basket more times than not. Any darker color and that’s it for you. This adds an extra layer of difficulty because now even shots that you would normally make won’t be so easy now. On the other hand, if you master it then there’s no way you’ll be losing to the average player. I can respect the developers wanting to give this game a higher skill ceiling, but it is tough for us casuals.

I got the gameplay down pretty well by the end though. I came back from what was a 60 point deficit and only ended up losing by 3 points. It was pretty emotional I’ll admit and I would have been tempted to upload a replay if I had gone further. I went for a high risk approach by the end and just kept going for 3 point shots. I felt like I was getting the timing down pretty well too. Defense is where I really turned it up though. Initially I couldn’t stop the opponent for beans. The problem is that it’s very hard to stay with your man in this game.

The opponent can spin or pass at any given time. If you over extent in trying to stop the opponent then you’ll just end up being stuck behind as they score. I found that the best defensive strategy was to not really do anything. Just let them miss the shot as you stick by or force them to pass and try to intercept. It may not be as exciting, but I found that to be the best way to go. My usual tricks weren’t working otherwise. So that does mean that the defensive side of the game is a little less exciting than usual. I also feel like the game is less explosive in general as you don’t get knocked over when trying to block and there’s less contact. Maybe it’s trying to be like the modern NBA in that respect as all of the sports have less contact now.

Aside from the main mode there are minigames and franchises to start. Pretty much the usual sport modes as those don’t really change from game to game. There’s a lot of content to keep you busy here and in theory just playing the Basketball games is enough to really hold you all the way til the end. Even when I was getting schooled it was just a lot of fun to play the games. In that respect sport games have always been high tier because you’re guaranteed to have a fun time. It’s hard to imagine a Basketball or Football game ever being bad.

Of course the graphics are pretty solid here. There are less cinematics and presentation compared to some of the other sport games, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that starts to change as we get more caught up in the years. This was all the way back with 07 after all so you can only imagine that an NBA 16 will be a lot more modern. The soundtrack is less impressive as it’s your standard EA tunes. They’re fast enough to get you ready I suppose, but that’s about it. Once you’re in the actual matches you don’t have time for such things anyway. You’re 100% focused on winning at that point.

Overall, NBA 07 is definitely a game I highly recommend. I think you can get it for under a dollar nowadays so that’s basically a steal if you ask me. Of course, realistically there isn’t much reason to buy this game when you can probably get 08 or 09 for basically the same price. It’s a solid title, but one that is basically nullified by the newer entries. It’ll definitely be fun to see how the newer titles stack up though. I’ll be playing NBA 08 shortly as I continue this sport marathon.

Overall 8/10

NHL 15 Review


It’s time to jump back into the world of Hockey! It’s been a long time since I’ve played a hockey game so I must warn you that I was pretty rusty. It’s definitely not my favorite sport to play, but at the same time it can be fast paced so it’s not the worst either. It’s just got a high learning curve like the FIFA titles. Fortunately this one does give you a lot of different gameplay options at the ready which I thought was pretty nice. You can play through Arcade mode or simulation style. I tried both options to make sure I was ready for the review.

So there are the usual modes here. You can play quick games, jump into a franchise, or you can have fun coaching and practicing. I jumped right into the thick of the action of course. The gameplay is pretty straight forward as it’s a 3D title and the goal is to hit the ball/puck into the opponent’s goal. Once you’ve done that then you’ll have scored a point. Whoever scores the most wins. You can switch between players and shoot, pass, and a lot of other moves. One thing I like about this game is how it embraces the combat aspect of the game. You can body slam opponents and even accept fight requests.

If you accept a fight then the two characters will line up in a boxing battle. The controls even change to that of a boxing game’s which is a pretty neat touch. I definitely enjoyed those brawls even if I was basically just button mashing at that point. I won almost all of my fights which was pretty nice. As for the overall games, I won the match on rookie level, but lost on all other difficulties. It’s similar to Soccer in how it’s almost impossible to score. Even on the easiest difficulty I was having trouble doing anything. The CPU would just run in and steal the puck from me whenever I was getting close which was pretty sad.

I feel like there are more breaks in the flow of the game than usual here though. Whenever you do something it seems like a flag comes out or the puck is stopped for icing. As a result the games can be a little on the long side. The computers never seem to make these mistakes though so it’s just something that you’ll have to get around. I suspect that it would take you a very long time to get all of the mechanics down. It helps a lot if you already watch Hockey and know the rules. If you do not, then this will be quite the experience indeed.

There are naturally a lot of PS4 trophies to grab which helps with the replay value. Prepare to sink quite a lot of time into the game if you are seriously gunning for the Platinum though. If there are any online trophies then your chances are probably 0 before you even start anyway. Then you’ve got local multiplayer so as with most sport games it basically has unlimited replay value as long as you know someone who also enjoys NHL. This may be a bit of a long shot though as I don’t imagine that there are a whole lot of people who would want to play NHL 15 when you can play one of the newer ones.

Naturally the game’s presentation is quite impressive and fires on all cylinders. You actually have live action commentators giving feedback as the match starts and then we get a nice introduction to both teams. The graphics are definitely on point and the music is pretty fitting. None of this is surprising in the slightest as EA sport games always look really great, but it’s nice to see regardless. This is the level of design that all games should strive for, especially in this day and age.

After having played more sport games I can confirm that so far the standings are Football>Tennis>Basketball>>>>Soccer>NHL>>>>MLB>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>PGA. I really enjoy playing the first 3 sports, but the other ones definitely take quite the tumble. Still, with the exception of PGA, it’s not like I would call any of them bad games. Even this one will still get a positive score. It may not be a title that I see myself ever getting back into, but there was definitely a lot of effort put into this game. The developers clearly cared and just seeing that boxing minigame was enough to get me sold. There aren’t any glitches and the gameplay does seem to make sense, I just need to learn how to master it.

Overall, NHL is not quite as fun as FIFA I’d say. It makes sense since I prefer Soccer to Hockey in general. Both games have a lot of similarities though so it’ll definitely come down to personal preference. What gives Soccer the edge though is that it’s easier to defend so at least the team won’t blow you out. In this game prepare for them to run up the score because they aren’t held back by the goalie. They’ll score whenever they feel like it and it’s very hard to stop them. The gameplay wasn’t quite as intuitive to me as the other games so moving around was a lot more difficult than I expected it to be. Fans of the NHL games will definitely like this one, but newcomers beware as the game is just very complicated and hard to master.

Overall 6/10

Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron Review


The Star Wars marathon continues as I play through the final PSP experience. The Battlefront series has definitely been pretty fun. While I still do miss the overall gameplay of the first title, the rest have definitely been solid. Ironically I think this one’s gameplay is definitely weaker than Renegade Squadron, but it makes up for this with a more expansive story. The Battlefront games have all been pretty close when it counts.

The game’s story covers the trilogy as well as some events after it. The main character is X2 and he is a clone bred for combat. Along with X1, he was one of the Empire’s finest soldiers. He ends up joining the rebellion though once Palpatine emerges and he finds out that he was on the wrong side. X1 remains evil though and will do everything he can to help the Empire win the war. It may not be Darth Vader and Palpatine that the rebels need to worry about after all.

It’s always fun to see how the games incorporate all of these new characters and events into the classic films. They fit them in pretty seamlessly to be honest. There are also a lot of fun nods to the last games as in 2 missions you get to support Renegade Squadron in their battles. It helps tie everything together into a larger continuity so that’s definitely pretty cool. Sadly you don’t get to fight with Vader this time, but you do take on some Jedi which is definitely a lot of fun.

It is easy to see how the Jedi ended up losing the war though. There is one cutscene where a Jedi shows up and manages to beat X1. However, he says that he won’t murder anyone. After saying this, the Jedi turns his back to X1 and is promptly stabbed. Did he really think that one line would cause X1 to turn good? Later in the story X2 is presented with a similar choice and while he also makes the hero call of not murdering X1, he at least doesn’t give the villain his back. Both X1 and X2 are definitely real fun characters though. They remind me of Starkiller to an extent. They also get hype as the villain takes down Luke Skywalker and the hero is ultimately able to trade blows with just about anyone in the game.

As for the core gameplay, it’s a classic 3D blaster style. You do get a lightsaber during the final few levels though so at that point it feels more like a beat em up. The controls are a little rougher than the last few titles mainly thanks to the camera work. It can be very hard to turn around as the camera shakes quite a bit so get ready for the villains to get a bunch of cheap shots in. Perhaps the developers realized this though as there are constant checkpoints throughout the game. Whenever you die you can find solace in the fact that you won’t have gone far. You’ll rarely have to replay more than 5 minutes of content to get back to where you are at.

You can heal your health by throwing a health packet or standing near a health point. Likewise there are various ammo points. Due to all of these methods of strengthening your character you are rarely in serious danger. So long as you play patiently you will definitely be fine. The aerial levels are back as well and these are definitely improved from the last one. You can move really quickly and the lock-on system is on point. You always feel like you are in control here and I actually looked forward to these levels. Typically they would be mixed in with the ground levels for a pretty good balance.

As for the length of the game, while it isn’t 3 hours like the last one, it is still pretty short. I don’t imagine it would take you much longer than 5 hours and honestly it would probably be more like 4. It’s definitely a short campaign, but of course there are other modes to keep you engaged like jumping into normal levels to have fun in. There’s no real post game though as the various unlockables don’t feel all that special. I got it for a cheap price and the value is pretty decent. I don’t think you’d regret the buy as even though it is short the gameplay is fun enough to keep you on board.

Going back to the length, this is also the kind of game where you can leisurely beat the level as you explore or you can blast through them. As the game uses a checkpoint system it’s very easy to cheese the game by running full speed to each objective. Even if you die after making it the checkpoint counts as a save point so each time you’ll be closer. As a result it’s not a bad idea to just run in each time. It’s not exactly how the developers probably imagined you’ll play though. Also, it’s not like you’re always saving a ton of time by doing this, but realistically there is no reason to actually fight all of the enemies unless you really want to. After all, there’s no EXP system here and I only tend to stick around and fight everyone when I can get level ups out of it.

The graphics are definitely solid and we do get more cinematics than last time. The Jedi vs X1 battle was really solid and we get other good action scenes as well. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see such cutscenes in the games and it does make the game feel a little more special. The soundtrack is about the same as always. I know the tunes are still good no matter how many times you hear them but I want to see the Star Wars games show a little more creativity with the upcoming games. There are a lot of new tunes they can come up with I’m sure.

Overall, Elite Squadron is a very fun game. It is definitely a step up over Rebel Squadron even if the gameplay is a little weaker. It’s very relative since all of the Battlefront games are very solid in that respect. The rest of the game aspects improve upon the original so you can’t count that as anything but a win. The next Star Wars game I’m playing is for the GBA so that’ll definitely be fun. It’ll be a fresh gameplay experience so it’ll be nice to see what the other companies could come up with. y Star Wars marathon is coming to a close, but it’s definitely been a fun ride. If you don’t have Elite Squadron yet then you should definitely change that.

Overall 7/10

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Review


It’s been a little while, but now it’s time to look at the next installment in the Olympic Game series. This one has been a mixed bag for me because some of the titles here have been really solid while others were pretty bland. I have to put Sochi in the weaker half as well. While it does have the best story in the series the gameplay is definitely the weakest. The game made the odd decision of having you switch between the Gamepad and the Wii remote constantly for story mode. That’s just an odd decision if you ask me and it’s one that slows everything down. I’ll go into that more in a second.

The story revolves around Team Sonic and Team Mario getting ready for another round of competition. They are interrupted when a giant castle shows up and mysterious keys lock down all of the doors. The heroes will have to fight past shadow versions of themselves to make it to the top and find out who is doing this. What mastermind could possibly be giving the heroes such a difficult fight? One thing’s for sure, the heroes can’t afford to hold back if they want to claim victory here.

So I definitely do give the game credit for actually adding a story here. That’s where the credit stops. I’ll talk about the positives in a minute, but the controls need to be addressed right away. Not only do you have to switch controls but you have to have the Wii Remote Plus or you won’t even be allowed to play the story. It’s a pretty slick way of making sure everyone bought the add on, but definitely a shady method if you ask me. The player shouldn’t be required to jump through all these hoops just to have some fun playing these Olympic titles.

Would it have been so hard to have just made all of the minigames Gamepad compatible? It’s just really strange that you have to keep switching. Also, the series has never been particularly good with this, but it’s really hard to understand the controls at a glance here. You can see the controls after you’ve paused the game, but the first time around you’ll probably be winging it. The controls are heavily motion based as well so get ready for the game to keep doing things when you don’t want it to. As a result this can make the game a bit more difficult than it is actually supposed to be which is definitely pretty iffy.

On the positive side, the graphics look pretty good as always. It’s always nice to see modern Sonic and Mario on the same screen here. All of the characters look sharp and the same goes for the level designs and animations. The soundtrack is also quite solid as it gives us various remixes for both the Mario and Sonic titles. This adds a little spice to the mini games for sure. It also just makes a lot of sense since the game should not use any generic themes when it has such a vast library of good tunes to choose from. That’s the way I see it anyway.

There’s a good amount of replay value here. The games are all made to be ones that you can replay a lot with friends and family to just have a good time. There are a lot of records to break and content to unlock. It’s not quite as vast as the first Winter Olympic Games which had a whole store filled with things to buy, but it’s definitely not bad either. There are a lot of modes here, but of course what will ultimately decide whether you want to play or not is how much you like the minigames.

On that note, they are very hit or miss. There are some minigames that are a lot of fun like Hockey, sliding down the hill, skateboarding, bobsledding, etc. On the other hand, there is the classic Curling game which seems to make it in every year. This game is as bad as it always was with the outcome basically being luck and the game drags on forever. You never get to walk in and out for this title. The dancing minigames also take quite a while to end. I believe they may be 4-5 minutes long which may not sound crazy, but for a minigame that is really pushing it.

At the end of the day the Olympic series has always seemed like a watered down version of Mario Party. The various games usually aren’t made with quite as much heart and there’s always a dicey one in there somewhere. Most of the games are good and I think they’ll all be reasonably enjoyable once you’re not playing a computer. This is still a good party game, but it’s definitely not the first one I’d recommend getting. I’m hoping that the new one coming out for the Switch does something different. I haven’t played the newest Olympics title yet so maybe by now they’ve fixed everything, but I can say that t this point in time I’m not in a huge rush to get the next one. I certainly will, but I do hope it’s better than this one.

Overall, The Sochi 2014 games aren’t a whole lot different from the other years. I feel like they phoned this game in to an extent. Many of the games share the same controls and aren’t terribly inspired. At the same time, the story is fun though and I think you can get some good enjoyment out of this one. The game is pretty cheap by this point so it isn’t much of an investment. I think it’s also fair to say that the game is not misleading. You should absolutely know what you’re getting yourself into before you play the game. It’s very straightforward about this so I think even without this review you should know whether you enjoy it or not. If you decide to buy the game then just be prepared to switch controllers every other match.

Overall 6/10